“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Seuss
When was the last time you picked up a book and read? If your reading centers around Facebook updates or tweets, then you seriously need to grab a book, sit back, relax, shut off all your electronic devices and immerse yourselves in reading – a book that interests you.
I understand some people may find reading a book or a novel pretty boring and a lengthy process. If there is a story that is both published as a book and is made into a movie, some of us would much rather watch the movie than read the book. I will choose the other way around.
I first found my passion in reading several years ago when I visited a bookstore in Singapore. The bookstore housed vast collections of books, novels, magazines, resource books – anything you can name. I started reading a novel and my interest in reading just picked up from there. Until today I am still an avid reader. I always find time to read because after so many years, I realize how much I have benefited from reading.
As the saying goes, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go. Everything that you stumble upon while reading enriches you. This knowledge can come in handy when you need to tackle challenges. After all, knowledge is power.
2. Vocabulary Expansion
For me, this is how I have most benefited from reading. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in my profession, and knowing that you are well-read, well-spoken as well as knowledgeable in a variety of topics can be an enormous boost to your self esteem and self confidence. As a teacher who teaches English as a Foreign Language, I have to be well equipped and prepared in terms of English vocabulary. While reading, I come across a lot of new English words I do not know and what I usually do is to keep notes. I write down the words I am not familiar with, look up the definitions in a dictionary, jot them down and write the sentences from the book so as to give me information on how to use the particular words. I occasionally go through my notes so I always remember the new words. This has helped me immensely and I know this will help other learners too.
3. Improved Focus and Concentration
When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story – the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15 to 20 minutes before work (on your morning commute, if you take public transportation, like me), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.
4. Imagination Booster
The story of a book will absorb your mind so let your imagination fly. While you are reading, you are building images, faces, places, colors, and settings. Allowing your mind to explore a new literary world opens the door to new ideas, subjects and situations that can get you thinking about trying new experiences.
5. Stress Reliever
A lot of people find that reading relaxes them and helps them to unwind at night. Reading helps them drift off to sleep easily as they let go of their trouble during the day while being immersed in the story. Our mind is like the body. It needs exercise just like the muscles do. Once you engage yourself in a good book, your focus of attention will be shifted and you become oblivious to what’s happening in the outside world.
Reading has a positive impact on our health. It is up to us how to embrace it. One of the biggest advantages of reading a book is you can take it anywhere and at the same time you can also go anywhere.
Reading gives us some places to go when we have to stay where we are.
By: Devi Godri
English as a Foreign Language Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug, Jakarta
“It is important that that learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning…”
So how can children make sense of, and then competently use, the language of mathematics? This article looks at ambiguous language and operational language.
The following interaction between a teacher and student was recorded.
T: Can you calculate the volume of this box? S: um .. [pause] .. no [has a puzzled look]
T: Do you know what volume is? S: Yes, it is a button on the remote.
One of the issues with constructing meaning of the language of mathematics is the use of everyday English terms that have different meanings in the mathematics classroom.
Here is a list of just some of the many words that have a different meaning in mathematics. These words are just some of the homographs: rational, mean, power, odd, face, property, common
The operational language can also be confusing. In the early years ‘and ‘is used for operation of addition. In later years the word ‘and’ is used in an operation for multiplication, e.g. ‘What’s the product of 5 and 4?’
When assessing a student’s ability to solve word problems in mathematics it is so important to consider not only the wording of the question but also the order of the questions. Two consecutive questions, similar to these, appeared in a standardised test. The word ‘altogether’ is used for a different operation in each question. What meanings have the students constructed of the words ‘and’ and ‘altogether’?
Budi puts cards into 4 equal piles.
Each pile has 20 cards.
How many cards does Budi have altogether?
Wati collected 68 cans.
Puti collected 109 cans.
How many cans did Wati and Puti collect altogether?
The construction of operational language is so important for problem solving. In some classrooms students can identify words in a problem, referring to displayed visual mathematical vocabulary.
Although language is heavily involved in constructing meaning in mathematics, the use of visual representations and manipulation of concrete materials all support communication and success in the mathematics classroom. The literacy of numeracy is a challenge for all and an additional challenge if English is an additional language. Our role is to support students to construct meaning as part of the stages of learning mathematics.
ACG School Jakarta
Have you ever wondered how teachers like us do storytelling? What are the different ideas in storytelling? How will you tell a funny or a scary story? These are some questions that popped up in one of our coffee breaks.
To begin with,
What is story telling?
The National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as an action that involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners. Storytelling happens in many situations, from kitchen-table conversation to religious rituals, from telling in the course of other work to performances for thousands of paying listeners. Some storytelling situations demand informality. Others are highly formal. Some demand certain themes, attitudes, and artistic approaches. The expectations about listener interaction and the nature of the story itself vary widely.
Our students define storytelling as:
And as teachers, we define storytelling as a way of expressing our feelings through story. Storytelling is enticing the listener to create mental images while we tell through words and actions. Storytelling connects the storyteller and the listener through imagination. Most of the interesting stories are about people. Therefore to make a story better to be understood, focus your story to real-life characters.
How do you choose a story?
The secret of a worthwhile story time is choosing the right book.
Children should be exposed to broad types of literature available to them in the classroom and as much as possible at home. Literature types include picture books, big books, concept books, chapter books, pop-up books, sensory books, nursery rhyme books, fairytale books, and folktale books.
How do you tell a story?
There are easy ways of telling a story to children:
- Reader’s position
The storyteller should be relaxed and comfortably seated or standing up.
2. Position of book
Hold the book and visual aids where children can view it well. Show the pictures slowly around the audience.
Use actions that go with the story to add interest. The body movement is an important factor in telling a story.
4. Eye contact
Use eye contact to relate to your audience. Let your eyes and facial expression help tell them the story.
Use a clear, natural speaking voice and vary the pace according to the story. Take time and never rush through the story.
6. Response of children/peers
Respect children’s comments and reactions, yet retain control of the group.
How do you introduce a story?
- Unlock difficult words that will be encountered in the story.
- Ask motivating questions related to the child’s experience that will arouse his/her interest in the story.
- Set the stage for the story and capture the children’s attention before you begin to read.
- Make the children sit well
- Begin by telling the title, author, and illustrator.
Storytelling presentation and activities in a creative way:
- Making a story book
- Comic strip
- Role play (puppet)
- Story cube
- See through story
Storyteller use projector screen as a tool to tell story.
- Story maze/ story map
As we end our coffee break, stories about work, family, students and whatever under the sun continue to flood our imagination. We hope you were able to get some ideas from one of our coffee breaks. So sip that cup of coffee and share your story with a friend.
By: Camelia Tjandra and Jose Noel Veloso
Grade 1 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
In our transdisciplinary theme, “How We Express Ourselves” with the central idea “A variety of signs and symbols facilitates communication,” the grade 3 students learned that communication takes place in many shapes and forms.
Sign language was one of the specialized communication systems that the grade 3 students learned. The students were able to know that sign language is being used by deaf and mute people, and it helps them as well as their teachers to communicate effectively and efficiently. They also learned that sign language is a natural and beautiful language that can be shared in ways that foster understanding and respect, acts as a bridge between two people who speak different languages, and gives them a sense of empowerment because they are being able to communicate which then leads them to being happier. The most important thing that the students realized was learning sign language gives them a chance to empathize and show appreciation to others, particularly the deaf and mute people.
On February 13, 2017, excited voices echoed through the 5th floor foyer. They were the voices of the students from Sekolah Santi Rama, a school in South Jakarta for the deaf and mute. The students smiled from ear to ear and couldn’t contain their excitement when they entered the grade 3 foyer. Upon entering one of the grade 3 classrooms, most of them said “Wow!” and they were pointing at the computers. Their eyes were wide open, wandering around the classroom.
While doing the socialization, BINUS SCHOOL Simprug students found out that some of their visitors have cochlear implants and hearing aids while others can hardly hear at all. They also learned how their teachers manage to accommodate all of their students by alternating between the use of sign language and oral speech when giving instructions.
After the socialization, an activity on teaching sign language followed wherein the BINUS SCHOOL Simprug students learned some words in sign language to the delight of the children from Sekolah Santi Rama. Then, they were divided into groups: two Santi Rama students and three BINUS SCHOOL Simprug students per group. The students introduced themselves to each other. They pointed out where they live and their birthdays. The students also shared their hobbies using sign language. Afterwards, the children from Sekolah Santi Rama performed the song, “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star” in sign language along with body language and gestures. The students from Sekolah Santi Rama also did a Balinese dance. They danced gracefully as if they were able to hear clearly the rhythm of the music. They also performed a skit about bullying. The students from Sekolah Santi Rami put up amazing performances!
At the end of the visit, students had lunch provided by the grade 3 parents. They were also given gifts consisting of school bags and stationeries. The children accepted the gifts graciously and said they wanted to visit the school again.
When they left, our grade 3 students shared some of the challenges they experienced. “When they shared jokes and laughed, we were not able to understand them,” said Ryan Khullar, one of our grade 3 students. “When they asked us using sign language, we could not understand because their hands move too fast. We were not able to reply back. They might think that we were being rude,” shared Merry, another grade 3 student. “Today’s visit really touched my heart. We are thankful because we can hear,” grade 3 student Caroline Lee remarked.
This interactive visit was an eye opener for our students, who realized that they have the same interests as people with disabilities. The visit also boosted the self-esteem of the children from Sekolah Santi Rama.
By Martha Carolina
Grade 3 Team Teacher
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
Writing is considered one of the most challenging lessons to teach. Generally, students love to share their ideas through speaking, but putting their thoughts into writing can be a struggle.
We often see that students effectively convey their thoughts orally and also participate actively during discussion time in class. However, when they are asked to organize their thoughts in any writing form or on graphic organizers, they are typically lost for words.
Primarily, the writing process involves various stages. They is prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. The process can be introduced at an early age and enriched as the students move on to higher levels.
Writing involves developing skills and conventions necessary to construct clear coherent written texts. Exemplars for teaching writing as a whole class or in small groups can be modeled on text structure and language features.
As we introduce students to different text types, it is best to show exemplars and discuss the purpose of writing, text structure and language features. For example, for a recount, the text structure would be …
Title: “When was the last time you felt proud of yourself?”
Orientation: When? Who? Where? Why?
Sequence of events: What happened?
Personal comment: How did the events make the writer feel?
The language features of a recount would include nouns, adjectives, past tense verbs, adverbs, adverbial phrases, time and sequence words.
Here is one of my student’s work.
The topic was introduced by trying out mini lessons on orientation, sequence of events and conclusion with a personal comment on separate days. Initially, students were asked to brainstorm on the recount topic and make a mind map. Then the first draft was written, which was then revised by the student based on the descriptive feedback and the conferencing. The final writing was definitely a very satisfying form showing progress over the first draft.
Modeling is another effective way of teaching writing. Teachers should model to create a good piece of writing by thinking out loud.
Another mode would be trying out mini lessons, which are about 10 to 12 minutes long, with explicit instruction and allowing the students to pick baby steps which will lead the learner to the next needed skill. Anchor charts, rubrics, and exemplars are a great way to make thinking visible in this method. The use of anchor charts, rubrics, and exemplars helps in developing links between student’s understanding of the writing process and language structures.
Conferencing is another crucial element which can be done one on one, or through planned or unplanned small group conferences at the table. It can be completed in about five to seven minutes or it may extend to up to 10 minutes. The first half of the conferencing involves the student sharing his/her thoughts and explaining what he/she has written. The student does most of the talking and the teacher listens carefully, takes notes and asks a few questions. In the second half of the conferencing, the student gets to listen more as the teacher helps the student by teaching the next needed skill to refine his/her writing.
Steps in a conference include primarily a compliment to acknowledge what the child has done. In conferencing, the teacher also decides the teaching point that needs to be taught to move the learner to the next level. This will enable the learner to recognize, name and extend his/her own ideas.
These are a few methods that we, as teachers, can introduce in our classroom to enhance students’ writing. In addition, teacher support provides opportunities for developing writers to take increasing responsibility for revising and editing their own writing. Through constant guidance and encouragement, we can see progress in our students’ writing.
By: Sujatha Sreenivasan
Grade 4 Class Teacher and Level Head
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
We celebrated “Literacy and Internationalism Week” at our school from October 28 to November 4, 2016. The event involved parents, teachers, and students in the learning process as a whole school community. As the youngest students in the whole school, our Early Years 1 students also participated in this event. This year, every class represented a different country. Our EY 1 class represented Mexico.
We shared our own excitement about the event to show that it was not just a regular event. This helped our three to four year old students understand more about internationalism.
A week before the celebrations, we talked to the students about Mexico and the different things that represent the country. Together with their parents, students made objects representing Mexico, such as maracas, banderitas, pop-up cactus, small Mexican flags, and paper moustaches. The students also brought from home Mexican items such as rosaries, a guitar, and tortillas. The artifacts were displayed in front of our class door together with some other Mexican decorations that we made in class.
Talking about Mexican food with the children Our Mexican displays in front of our class
Surprisingly, our Mexican display always caught the attention of our students and sparked their curiosity every time they entered the class. Right there and then, their learning was triggered and they became so interested, they wanted to learn more about Mexico.
Throughout the week, the students were engaged with different activities about Mexico. They enjoyed learning facts about Mexico, including the flag of Mexico, Mexican clothes, animals and plants found in Mexico, and famous food from Mexico. They made Mexican flags, cut pictures of Mexican animals, food, and clothes, made maracas, completed puzzles of sombreros and the Mexican flag, and tasted different food from Mexico and other countries.
The students also learned a Mexican song titled “La Cucaracha”. They all danced and had a lot of fun singing the song together. They also took part in a costume parade and strutted and sashayed their outfits in front of the judges. As the closing to this event, all Early Years students had fun playing with a piñata.
Although the event is over, the students still remember the activities and things they learned about Mexico. They keep talking about our “Literacy and Internationalism Week”. As a student-initiated action, one child created her own lyrics to the tune of “La Cucaracha”. Some children have mentioned the Mexican creatures when they played with their toy animals. Others talked about outfits representing different countries when they saw pictures taken during the costume parade. The students also could remember the winners of the activities we had during the celebration week.
The activities we conducted during our “Literacy and Internationalism Week” nurtured the curiosity of our children and allowed them explore various countries, becoming more open-minded towards different cultures in the world.
By: Geertruida Maya and Atika Priska Gunawan
Early Years 1 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug
It was a doctor who once said “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go”. That was, of course, Dr Seuss in his wonderful book I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! Dr Seuss, also known as Theodor Seuss Geisel, was not a pediatrician, but he has had enormous impact on the health of millions of children. He did this by creating literature that was simultaneously wacky, inviting and subliminally educational.
The 2016 MISJ Reading Festival, with a theme of ‘Books Bring Stories to Life’, saw students and teachers celebrating literature during the week of November 8. The festival included a visit by a professional author, a poster making competition, fashion show and grade level activities that promote a love for reading.
On the first day, book characters came to life as students dressed up as their favorite characters. They sashayed down the catwalk during the fashion show to the applause and cheers of the school. The Grade 1 and 2 students were able to meet the author, Chandrewening, of the children’s books like Gloob and the Hari Pertama Sekolah Series. The students had fun hearing about her story and how she became an author.
On the second and third day, students wore their sleeping attire for Pajama Day and national costumes for United Nations Day. The Grade 1 students had Mystery Readers where they were able to hear stories in their respective classrooms. For Grade 2, they did Book Swapping, Grade 3 did Book Sharing and Grade 4 & 5 did Folk tales and Story Sharing. These activities definitely showed the students that books can come to life. To close the week, students wore their Halloween themed costume in school.
Did you catch the award winning performance of our very own MSJ faculty during this year’s ‘The Emperor’s New Hair’, based on the story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’? Once again the teachers made the school laugh out loud.
This week was also full of trivia and contests. The ‘Guess the Teacher Wall contest was a popular event, where the students had to guess 21 teachers hiding behind a book. The trivia was also a favorite where they had to guess which country Halloween originated from. The Digital Club also created their posters following the theme for this year. Congratulations to all the winners from this year’s Reading Festival.
This year’s Reading Festival was a joyous celebration of reading, one of many events that brought the MISJ community closer together. The involvement and support of everyone proves the positive impact reading has on a person’s life. We look forward to next year’s Reading Festival!
Homeroom Teacher Grade 1
Mentari School Jakarta